These two posts from the past say everything I ever needed to say concerning where I have always stood regarding the Mets, and never ever wavered.
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A Concise Concatenate of Mets GM's and
Life Under WILPONIANISM
Originally posted by me on December 27, 2009
No need to click it; It's just to show you the time stamp.
I got it ALL right here; TRUST ME. The post is as follows:
SHEA STADIUM, 1976
The Metropolitans Baseball Club of New York
Our Matriarch; Mrs. Joan Payson
The partnership group headed by Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon purchased the NY Metropolitan BBC on Jan. 4, 1980 from Charles Shipman Payson, (who took control of the team after his wife Joan passed away 5 years earlier), and their daughter, club president Lorinda de Roulet. The Mets' original and only owner to that point passed away October 4, 1975. We owe everything as Met fans to Mrs. Joan Payson, the New York Baseball Giants fan and season ticket holder at the Polo Grounds, and to Mr. William Shea.
Joe McDonald had been the General Manager for the previous 5 years under the old ownership. The way I understand it, the new ownership told Mr. McDonald the last few years at Shea weren't his fault but they (Doubleday and Wilpon) wanted to go in a new direction. The club made an offer to Mr. McDonald to stay with the team in a different capacity which he did for one year to help make the new ownership's transition smoother. But by 1981 he was gone from the Mets' employ moving on to other endeavours.
The Mets chose Frank Cashen, architect of the mighty Baltimore Orioles teams of the late 60's and early 70's to be their new General Manager.
But before we get into Frank Cashen these are the things I didn't know about JOE McDONALD in 1978 when I was 11 years:
FIRST ~ He was Director of our Minor League Operations in the 60s busy farming-up Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, Nolan Ryan, Tug McGraw and a bevy of our positional players that went on to win the World Series in 1969 and a N.L. flag in 1973.
My team for the most part was still in tact. What I didn't understand then was, it was time, unbeknown-st to me, to break that edition of the Mets up. THAT TIME had come for the Mets. Huh? From 1977-1979, one by one, I watched all my beloved Mets disappear. I was stung when they traded Tug McGraw, Cleon Jones and Rusty Staub in '74 and '75, but those were only tremors. The big shake-up started in earnest in '77. Tom Seaver, Koosman, Kingman, Grote, Harrelson, Wayne Garrett, Skip Lockwood, John Matlack, John Milner, Roy Staiger were all gone. Eddie Kranepool retired and ED OTT, catcher of the Pirates, ended Felix Millan's career with a WWE wrestling style body slam. I thought Lee Mazzilli was going to play with these guys. But I watched and thought who's responsible for this? My Dad was a Yankee fan so no help there.
What I didn't understand then about Joe McDonald was, like I said it was time to break the team up, but I certainly didn't know that Lorinda de Roulet ordered every budget in sight slashed and ground up into fine powder. Not even pencils and paper clips were safe. The team was hemorrhaging money and the Mets were looking for a buyer. I was nine, ten and eleven. WHO KNEW?! I didn't and I blamed him for everything back then, to include trading Tom Seaver.
This is what I now know about JOE McDONALD:
FIRST ~ If the choice to replace him was anyone other than Frank Cashen,- It could have gone down as one of the worst decisions the post-Payson Mets ever made. There is more to Joe McDonald's resume no one bothers to address, in part because Frank Cashen is the best executive hire the post-Payson Mets ever made. I will revisit this later and elaborate.
SECOND - Even as bad as it got between '77 and '79, the farm system was working fast and furious. Joe McDonald still had blood pumping through the system. He just was not allowed to make any free agents signings or make trades that would increase payroll. He was operating under a mandate from the Team President. I will elaborate later in this post on what kind of talent he was grooming in those dark years..
C'mon...He's it's part of my grand plan to discredit the Wilpons for my grand finale. There! Cat's outta th'bag OK?
OK...The FRANK CASHEN ERA, 1980-1991 General Manager and Executive Lord of all things METROPOLIS: The first and to date only Mets Executive that came from off the Campus.
He presided over the greatest period of Mets' prosperity. Between 1984-1990 no other team in baseball won more games. I'll spare you all the details. I forget I'm 43yrs old sometimes but you should be pretty up to snuff with 80's Baseball. Mr. Cashen gutted a bad team even further between 1980-1982, refitted an already effective farm system with even more pistons and they were off and running.
Many say under his watch, that team partied too much; - drinking and drugging, getting into on and off field brawls at clubs, and getting arrested. They reveled in their cockiness. Read Darryl Strawberry's recent book for tales of more high jinx. Hindsight says they underachieved. Regardless, the Whole Time, Fred Wilpon was acting like FLOUNDER from ANIMAL HOUSE. Remember at the end of the movie how the Delta Guys wrought havoc on the Home-Coming Parade? - And Flounder, after purchasing 2000 marbles for his part, looked around at the chaos and thought to himself aloud, - "OH BOY, THIS IS GREAT!". Well? That was Fred Wilpon in the 80's!
Throughout Frank Cashen's years, the thriving farm system Joe McDonald left behind continued to thrive pumping out prospects. In addition to the farm system, Frank Cashen procured a lot of executive talent that was at the time, the envy of Baseball. The Wilpon's continued to feed off the buffet into the present day with Omar Minaya (that connection will be tied together later in this post). The next 5 NY Met GM hires would all stem directly or indirectly from Frank Cashen and cover the next 20 years.
When Frank Cashen stepped down as General Manager heading into the 1992 season, he stayed on as a Vice President and Team Consultant into the late 90's. As a matter a fact, he resumed his GM post briefly in 1998 when Steve Phillips was out whoring around and had to take a leave of absence from his GM'ship. GOOD GRIEF!! - More about that dummy later.
Al HARAZIN, METS' GENERAL MANAGER 1992-1993:
First off, I don't know how the hell this guy rose through the ranks faster and higher than Joe McIlvaine within the Mets' executive talent pool. He was the accountant for crying-out-loud. Secondly, I don't know who's decision it was to make him GM and not Joe McIlvaine. Was it Cashen's idea or was that decision lobbied by.., by someone else? How could it be? Did Doubleday/Wilpon have a say? Was that really Cashen's hand picked replacement? I don't really know. What I do know is that he was an unmitigated disaster as GM.
Al Harazin is the genesis of when I believe Fred Wilpon first became gun shy about going out and pursuing free agents with vigor.
Al Harazin, in part because of the overwhelming backlash from the Mets not signing Darryl Strawberry, went out and spent all kinds of' cash on Vince Coleman, Willie Randolph, Bobby Bonilla, Saberhagen et'al. The only professional outta the motley crew Harazin signed was Eddie Murray (I'm sorry, and Willie; but an over-aged Willie). Outside of Eddie Murray, 1992-93 was...FUGGEDABOUDIT Horrendous.! Those were two dark years in Flushing.
Doc Gooden couldn't stay clean, Jeff Kent was always angry with the fans, Bonilla was threatening to show reporters "the Bronx" (as in kick their ass), Vince Coleman was throwing fireworks at L.A. fans in the parking lot, Saberhagen using a super-soaker filled with bleach to spray down reporters and manager Jeff Torborg couldn't keep his foot out of his mouth. Oh my, how the media wrecked Jeff Torborg. *sigh*
Fred Wilpon deserves credit for showing a backbone and in a press conference declaring, "Vince Coleman will never wear a Mets' uniform again" over the fireworks show. But it was from this time on Fred Wilpon began his aversion with free agency until Omar Minaya came back in 2005 and convinced him to up the ante a little.
Things went very wrong for the Mets in 1991-93, and Wilpon seemed proactive in wanting a new direction. Nelson Doubleday didn't say much about anything. He was really backround'ish but he was the Board Chairman. Nelson was the Big Daddy but Fred Wilpon was always the front man. Nelson always knew how to let the Baseball people do their jobs. Fred was always buzzing around. But they were fast becoming Frick and Frack.
The Mets, like I said, had executive talent on the books. Bob Mandt seemed to be in the mix but seemed to top out along the way and slipped. Joe McIlvaine was the rising star. Other teams knew it too. But somehow the Mets GM chair went to Harazin. Because McIlvaine was impatient and tired of waiting for the Mets job he took the S.D. Padres offer in '90.
If Cashen knew he was going to retire in another year.....then..? Why not...? ...nevermind.
That's one the Mets let get away. But not for long. Al Harazin was fired during that infamous 1993 season, not able to complete his second year on the job.
This is lucky break number two for the Mets. The first was getting Frank Cashen in the first place. The Wilpons were lucky McIlvaine came back. Fred Wilpon pretty much begged Joe McLvaine to return to the nest. Joe Mac obliged. I'm omitting all the in-fighting McIlvaine supposedly tired of, that went on behind the Mets' scenes, which was part of the reason for his motivations to accept the San Diego job. But that part of the story just seems too petty for this blog's purpose. I will not leave you hanging however and offer that all the in-fighting previously eluded to was basically between Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday. Yes, at times it was often ugly and public.
JOE McILVAINE, METS' GENERAL MANAGER 1993-1997:
The plan to rebuild the Mets was an utter failure. GENERATION-K never took off due to injury (to all of them). Joe McIlvaine got fired in 1997 because he was a little thick headed. Fred Wilpon always used to get on him for being away from the team too much and not keeping the owners in the loop or returning their calls. McIlvaine just had his own way about him. He was a bit of a Diva. But the truth is he deserved to get fired because he stopped caring. He would literally dissappear for days. When situations demanded his presence, he seemed to always be off scouting somewhere; or so he said. Bobby Valentine, the manager at the time, started complaining out loud about him. Steve Phillips was turning tricks in the back allies of the organization as a young up-comer by this time. Steve Phillips bided his time, waiting for his chance too.
Fred Wilpon's hand was forced by the departure of Hunsicker. He then tapped on the shoulder of Cashen's last available pupil. McLlvaine was out, STEVE PHILLIPS the rising (porn)star was in.
STEVE PHILLIPS METS' GENERAL MANAGER 1997-2003:
This is where it all goes awry for Fred-A-Licious (Wilpon), my fellow Brooklynite, the Dodger fan, - the man who went to high school in my neighborhood, like Lee Mazzilli and John Franco before him...; my team's owner who pitched for Lafayette H.S. in Bensonhurst while Sandy Koufax played first base.
Whatever assessment you have concerning the years 1997 through 2000 (2001-2003 LOL!!!) if they're positive, attribute them to Bobby Valentine; do yourself that favor.
Steve Phillips did draft David Wright, whom would turn out to be the compensation for losing Mike Hampton to free agency. He also drafted Jose Reyes and Scott Kazmir. That's not bad work right there!
But Steve Phillips obliterated any respect he built for himself leading up to the 2000 season. He ignited his reputation with the acquisitions made between 2001-2003 in a great ball of fire stoked by Wilpon's cash, shell shocking Fred Wilpon even further. For the second time, Fred Wilpon was stuck with one of the highest payrolls in baseball with nothing to show for it but shame, like in 1993.
Fred always had a delicate psyche. He doesn't like bad press and contoversy. A guy named Steinbrenner loved it; not Fred though.
Back to Mike Piazza, only Nelson Doubleday knew enough to sign Piazza for his worth. Fred didn't want to write that check and that kind of thinking drove Nelson crazy. Fred Wilpon's partnership with Nelson Doubleday was falling apart like wet toilet paper during this time.
STEVE PHILLIPS also had to take a leave of absence from the team because he was out and about being a slut. No this isn't 2009 and ESPN I'm talking about. He was an adulterous whore back in 1998 too. Frank Cashen had to come in from the BULLPEN and temporarily take over while the Mets dealt with the Phillips Scandal (Pt.1).
Moving forward ~ After sitting by while Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Kevin Appier, Mike Bordick, Jeremy Burnitz and company stole his money, Wilpon, sporting the second highest payroll in baseball, was kicking around with a last place 2003 team, a bickering GM and a rabbid manager.
Fred Wilpon backed Phillips in his blood feud with Bobby Valentine and the manager was out. It was a bad move and definitely the easier choice to make. Valentine didn't hesitate venting frustration with the organization, and with Wilpon that's a no-no. So, Valentine basically got to fill-out his own pink slip. But Phillips also read the writing on the wall and knew Wilpon was tired of his act too. The Wilpons fired Steve Phillips shortly after.
By the time Fred limped into the offseason after 2003, all direct remnants of Frank Cashen were gone and the resources he left behind were suddenly exhausted.
Nelson Doubleday couldn't deal with his partnership with Wilpon anymore. The sentiment was Nelson found Fred Wilpon insufferable. Nelson and Fred finally worked out a deal and Doubleday's half of the team would be bought by the Wilpons. "FLOUNDER" has now lost BLUTO, D-DAY, OTTER and HOOVER.
The S.S. Wilpon officially became rudderless.
Doubleday left with the team's fortitude to gamble and dream big in tow. Frank Cashen took away all the team's brains and know-how. FLOUNDER was about to find out things can and would get worse....and more tretcherous. Fred Wilpon and the Mets made their first 10 degree turn towards the ICEBERG.
But what's a Wilpon to do?
Omar Minaya was previously brought into the fold by Steve Phillips via the Texas Rangers. He was the Mets Assistant GM and Lord over minor league and international developement since Sept.1997. He left to take a precarious Expos GM job in 2002. So with Frank Cashen's influence a distant memory, Wilpon turned to another Phillips appointment, Jim Duquette. It would be Fred Wilpon's first decision as a solo artist. He had no choice. He was the only one around. And well, Wilpon was UNPLUGGED now.
Minority Partner Saul Katz was kicked up a notch from his position of obscurity within the ownership group. And we were all left thinking what the Son of 'Pon, Wilpon the Younger, Lil Jeff, really knew about Baseball? So, at this point the Mets' fan base is about to be thrown to the whims of two Steve Phillips' imports; Jim Duquette and Omar Minaya.
Big Jim...cousin of Dan Duquette. *sigh*
JIM DUQUETTE, METS' GENERAL MANAGER 2003-2004:
Wilpon sensed it and before even firing Duquette, he hired Omar Minaya. No..., the Wilpons begged Omar to come back and work for the Mets in effect creating a two-headed GM for the latter part of 2004. The appointment making Omar the official GM, and Duquette's formal dismissal from his position didn't occur officially till the 2004 season was over. It just wreaked of desparation by the Wilpons. But they had their man most Met fans were content with.
During Jim Duquette's very brief tenure, in a quite publicly known secret, he was ordered to freeze payroll. The new Mission Statement called for Met Mediocrity. Band-aids would plug the team's needs just fine, and buy the Wilpons a little more time to see if they could come up with a clue.
Ever since Fred Wilpon had to pay down the 2003 disaster of a season, his mandate became to do things second rate, second city and from a mindset shackled with timidity. It's hard to argue against paying up for Piazza and Ventura and that over-achieving team of 2000 but it was the Alomar's, Mo Vaughn's and Baerga's that made Freddie break out in a rash, just like Vince Coleman and Bobby Bonilla made him schizoid before that.
Wilpon is always monitoring what we're saying because he's that paranoid, not because he's that in touch with the fan base. But with our increasing decibles of discontent, an idea was born. "I know - Let's ask Omar Minaya to come back ~ Because the bottom line here is, I don't know anybody else. Where's Frank Cashen when you really need him?"
Jim Duquette, since day one never had a chance. He was manipulated by Wilpon like a Jim Henson Muppet the entire short time he was GM.
Scott Kazmir?! Good Grief.
Fred Wilpon used his third and last "Lucky Break" card. Omar was someone who Fred Wilpon was familiar with. Fear of the unknown is paralyzing for some..(Fred). Wilpon had a comfort level with Minaya. Omar had a good reputation. But c'mon, the truth is Wilpon just couldn't pool together a well educated baseball braintrust since Frank Cashen left. This organization is at the mercy of Steve Phillips' proteges now. I do not believe the Wilpons have the industry insight to hire someone better than Omar. So yea, here in this instance, Fred Wilpon lucks out; again. Omar came back like Joe McIlvaine did once befor him, both at Fred Wilpon's behest.
OMAR MINAYA, METS' GENERAL MANAGER Sept. 2004-present:
Omar's record since 2005 is 427-383. However, 2006, as the years pass seems to be the abberation. The win totals each year are 83, 97, 88, 89 and 70 in 2009. Ninety seven wins in 2006 seems to be standing alone. Ever since Carlos Beltran watched that curve ball fall in during the '06 NLCS, it seems like this team put it's tail between it's legs and has been heading in the opposite direction since. I'll be fair and take last year off Omar's docket. Injuries crippled the team. But from 2005 to 2008 the team is a plus six. The '08 team was six games better than the '05 edition. You decide. The book is still open with Omar. We're all watching. I wouldn't be telling you anything you don't already know.
One of Omar Minaya's closest lieutenants, Tony Bernazard sizzled up in a blaze of Binghampton MMA Bravado and then there was Omar's own Flubbering Flushing Meltdown at the press conference announcing the termination of said Tony Bernazard. It truly was BIZARRO WORLD wasn't it? Another Minaya guy, Manny Acta took a managers job with the Nationals. So who do the Wilpons look to if they relieve Omar?
Here's another concurrent problem folks. Our minor league system has come to a grinding halt pretty much for the first time since 1965. I've watched for 9 years now, my graduating Brooklyn Cyclones of NYPL sent to Binghampton AA and get stuck in the mud. Additionally, there are no more prospective executives the Wilpons can tap into anymore. They are all done. Cashen started a line of executive hires that were all in-house. At present they've all been exhausted by the Wilpons.
Fred Wilpon is at a crucible. This is his most important year of his enire time owning the Metropolitan BBC.
If he fires Omar Minaya, the next decision he makes could have cataclysmic and far reaching ramifications. The dark ages are looming for this franchise. I am a little thin on confidence the Wilpons will get this right. I fear ICEBERG DEAD AHEAD. There is still time to save this however. There's plenty of time to prevent panic. This operation is very salvagable. Fred is not an imbecile. Mawkish? Perhaps. Ignorant and dumb? Certainly not. Lacking baseball acumen, timid and paranoid? You betcha.
And finally, I'd like to bring Joe McDonald back into the conversation. Even though the Mets were miserable on the field between '77-'79 under Joe, the farm sytem was busy. Get your knife and forks Met fans and dig into this.
Wally Backman, Jesse Oroscoe, Neil Allen, Mookie Wilson, Hubie Brooks, *Mike Scott, *Jeff Reardon were all getting farmed-up during that time. Hubie Brooks allowed us to acquire Gary Carter. Neil Allen allowed us to acquire Kieth Hernandez and Lee Mazzilli got us Ron Darling in return; and we reacquired him. Honorable mention goes out to Ed Lynch; he deserves credit too. Is it fair of me to say that Joe McDonald directly and indirectly deserves credit for..oh...28% of the World Champion New York Mets of 1986? Am I way off on that? The only reason I point that out is if we're going to truley assess the body of work of this ownership group, it's imperative we know how they got to this very moment, attribute the credit where it's due examined what needs explaining.
Joe McDonald has truley been the gem of the Mets organization. He gets a bad rap for those late 70's teams. What was closer to the truth of the Mets demise back then was the dynamic between Joan Payson's husband and daughters, and an infamous Boris Kolaff of an executive, M. Donald Grant; Board Chairman. He was the real reason Tom Seaver got traded. He is where my childhood rage should have been directed towards. He was the Mets' true Phantom Manace of that ERA. But that's for another day.
Today, I'm worried for the future of the Mets franchise under Wilpon/Katz control moving foward. If the last 6 years of Wilponianism UNPLUGGED is any indication, I wanna get put back in the Matrix.
This is the way I see it. I'm not saying I'm right or wrong. It's just how I see life going into Met Year 8 A.D.
It's really an excersize in insanity complaining about the same things over and over again.
Let's please fast foward to August 31, 2010 when I penned this post 8 months later and one month left in season.
No, no; you don't need to click. It's all here. Just giving you a time stamp. Post is as follows:
SON of 'PON ~ The SAUL B. KATZ Dilemma
Met Year 8 A.D. ~ Year 8 AFTER DOUBLEDAY.
The Age of WILPONianism.
Back in 2003 Nelson Doubleday sold his half of the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club to his partner Fred Wilpon, ending a very acrimonious relationship between the two. I'm not going "there" because the Mets only won one World Series while he was still half owner. No, I only bring that to your attention because I'd like to remind Met Fans about the parting shots Nelson Doubleday took at the Wilpon's and more specifically, Jeff Wilpon ~ Son of PON....Fred Wilpon's son that is ~ Lil' Jeff, C.O.O. of Mets R Us.
Harsh of me? Read what Mr. Doubleday had to say to ESPN about Jeff Wilpon HERE.
The quote I'd like to extract for your reading pleasure is this little screwgie from ESPN Archives as Nelson Doubleday said what he really felt. He was working without a filter. There was a lot of disdain for his "Partner and Son" of which he kept no secrets about such feelings.
** (picking up mid-article...) Doubleday especially had some harsh words for Jeff Wilpon, Fred's son, who is heavily involved in the daily operation of the franchise.
"Mr. Jeff Wilpon has decided that he's going to learn how to run a baseball team and take over at the end of the year," Doubleday told the newspaper. "Run for the hills, boys. I think probably all those baseball people will bail."
In fact, Doubleday still owns box seats at Shea Stadium, but apparently does not attend games partly due to the presence of the younger Wilpon.
"Jeff sits there by himself like he's King Tut waiting for his camel," Doubleday told the paper. "Hump one. Hump two. They like that, two for the price of one."
That ESPN article was as of July 2003.
So let us fast-forward now to September 1st, 2010 and omit everything I've been screaming about regarding this club since winter past and beyond.. September 1st, for all intent and purposes should be, symbolically or real, Day One of the Beginning of the END of the current Met Era.
The Failure in Flushing must be corrected. The Misery in METropolis must end.
FIRST ITEM OF CONTENTION: OWNERSHIP ~ Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, Jeff Wilpon. OR as I like to sometimes call this administration....The SAUL B. KATZ Dilemma
"Meaningful Games In SEPTEMBER" will elude the Mets in this 2010 season. Mr. Fred Wilpon's stated goal to have his club play meaningful games in September has been denied by his uniformed employees and mid-level management....again. Barring a "Miracle" the Mets will not participate in this year's post-season just as they have missed the playoffs for 7 out of the 8 years Fred Wilpon is the sole principle owner of the Mets.
In 1992-93 both Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon were stuck with an onerous bill for an embarrassing last place team assembled by Al Harazin. In 2003 Steve Phillips masterfully crafted the worst team money could buy and Fred Wilpon, who by then was the sole principle owner, got stuck with another payroll albatross and a last place club. I empathize with the Wilpons in so far as I know they do care. Fred Wilpon has never been cheap per se. The Mets have always maintained a higher end payroll for players. So that's not up for debate.
What is up for debate is how the Wilpons maintain a blurred line of demarcation separating Ownership and Baseball Operations. The well publicized and criticized "collegial" structure the Wilpons promote in their front office is nothing more than a nursery for Chaos.
As Nelson Doubleday declared in 2003, and as we've witnessed with our very own Met Eyes, Jeff Wilpon really does want to be a Baseball Man. While Omar Minaya perhaps wielded a lot more influence and operated with more autonomy back in 2005 and 2006, let's be clear, Jeff Wilpon is calling the shots. Today Omar is a completely watered down version of the man the Mets re-employed by asking him to become GM of the club at the end of the 2004 season. I do not want to get ahead of myself, but Omar's power has been diminished somewhat by his own machinations also. But back to the point about Jeff, he has taken the line of demarcation between Ownership and Baseball Operations and knocked it completely out of focus. As a matter of fact, there is no line and there never has been one.
Jeff/Fred Wilpon has the whole "OUR GANG" involved in the decision processes of the club. The philosophy was fostered by his Pop and Saul Katz. Jeff, John Ricco, Omar, the invisible man, Bob Melvin from the shadows, before his dismissal *Tony Bernazard, and a small list of others comprise(d*) The Brain of this organization.
Before moving forward, let's revisit this clubs finances for a second because we still do not know the motivations for some moves made and the motivations for a lack of transactions made. The Wilpons have stated the club's financial health is strong in spite of the Madoff Scandal. There's speculation Fred has lost a very substantial sum. There are also reports Fred Wilpon may have even made money in the process. But while they say the team's financial health is good, they behave in a very contradictory manner. Fred Wilpon has said nothing to silence the wild speculations consuming print, on-air and electronic media. So that's where we are with that. We just don't know how much the Wilpon's finances influence their, Jeff's, Jeff's dictates to Omar('s)..., decisions.
Moving forward now, Jeff Wilpon is what he is; the Owner's son. He's the Owner's son and he wants to be a Baseball Man; The Baseball Man. That's a problem.
Omar may have precipitated Jeff's increasing involvement in Baseball Operations, however I do not think anything would have prevented Jeff's encroachment upon Baseball Operations.
George Steinbrenner was consumed with Baseball Operations but he was transparent in such dealings. His word had a high credit rating with the Fans in that regard. When George made decisions there were no secrets. If he wanted to fire someone, he told you why. If he wanted to sign someone, he told you why. We do know George operated his club at a financial paper loss in his last few actively participating years. He didn't tell us that; the newspapers did. But what he told his fan base was that he would do what was necessary to... and don't worry about....... and he followed through. He dipped into his own pockets to deliver on his word. And here is one of the few if any times, I compare Met and Yankee business. My point is, as stated earlier, the Wilpons say one thing and behave another way, in part because I feel they, the Wilpons aren't being truthful with their fan base about the Owner's ability to financially afford or manage the team. So, what translates into the Baseball Operations side strikes us as being somewhat conflicting and confusing as Fans, and perhaps to the media also.
So let's just say, Omar remains on-board as the GM. If that be the case, a dramatic change in the relationship/structure between Omar and Jeff must take place. If Omar is retained as the General Manager, I suggest the Mets need to hire a bona-fide, Baseball experienced Team President to separate Omar and Jeff. If Jeff wants to be a Baseball Man, let him buzz the ear of the President; not Omar's. A Team President must assure the Wilpon's financial interests in the club are being met in return for full autonomy. A Team President then turns and delegates autonomy to his General Manager to implement the Organizations will concerning Baseball Operations. Omar is accountable to, and answers to said Team President. A Team President then delivers a state of Baseball Operations report to the Owners. Yes, this entails Jeff Wilpon relinquishing baseball concerns to said President. If you're Jeff, this is a rather large pill to swallow. But the homogenized duties of the front office....pffft ~ the direct connect between Omar and Jeff must be severed. If Omar is to be retained, he must be handed a clear budget parameter and be left to make decisions autonomously. Jeff always retains the right to question and inspect his club of course. But as things stand right now, Omar has been rendered impotent because Jeff engages in baseball operations with an owners mind and his Father's wallet in his heart, and secondly, Omar helped create the condition due largely to diminished effectiveness on the major league level, besetting the club with paralyzing contracts and an inability to seize the moment in matters of crisis management.
All of which I said is IF Omar is retained as General Manager of the Mets. But Omar is a later topic of discussion. Jeff is still topic one for now. And to summarize, if Omar is indeed retained in his present capacity, of which I am not opposed to, the direct pipeline between Jeff and Omar must cease and a Team President must be found. A Team President is the only one who can have a Team Owner's, a General Manager's, and the over-all best interest of an organization as his primary interest all at the same time without bias. Anything else is just hands in the cookie jar or too many chiefs and not enough Indians. You choose. But the overlapping of ideas, interests and concerns is just creating standing water spawning mosquitoes. The ramifications of the inbred thought process by this front office has been clearly evidenced and we've watched it bleed onto the field of play.
Regardless if Omar or whom-ever is General Manager of the Mets, something has got to give; that something is Jeff Wilpon. If he wants to be a Baseball Man so badly, I'm afraid he'll have to do it vicariously through a Team President. Jeff Wilpon and his on-the-job-training is the Phantom Menace at work here. If part of the reason I think what I think is because they, the Wilpons haven't exactly been truthful with us....isn't that his fault and not my misinterpretation?
There's another side of me that actually likes Jeff. I'll just quickly make use of his trip to Atlanta back in May, when he addressed the angst surrounding the team. He's pretty darn good speaking his way through crisis management and Atlanta wasn't the only display, unfortunately. He comes, speaks to the media very plainly/frankly but effectively, and gives Met fans a sense as if he said, "All is well. There's nothing more to see here. Go back to your homes". He's good at that. Maybe there-in lies his niche on this team. If Omar is still the GM next year, I'm sure Jeff will have more opportunities to smoke screen us. But I still hold firm in my belief one of the ways to go about solving Saul B. Katz' Dilemma is with a good Team President. The Son of PON must be contained.
A Team President is needed within the New York Mets Front Office regardless whether Omar is retained as the General Manager or not. How else can we keep nepotism from ruining this club? If Jeff is the one who hires the next GM..., is Jeff really hiring the next GM or someone who just plays one on TV?
The Saul B. Katz Dilemma continues.
WELCOME, finally to October 7, 2010 ~ THE DAY METropoliS STOOD STILL.
This will be quick.
Welcome to the day Mets fans have clamoured for. Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel have been relieved from their respective duties. Jerry Manuel's club option will not be picked up and Omar's remaining two years owed him under terms of his contract will be made whole. Omar was asked by the Wilpons about a re-assignment within the organization, but both Omar and Jeff agreed it would have to be the new GM's decision to maintain such an employment agreement. I honestly do not see that happening. Omar will most likely move on and in all likelyhood do very well somewhere else.
Let's understand this will be the third General Manager the Wilpons will be hiring since they became sole owners. Remember, this will be the first GM hired from off-campus. Jeff Wilpon said very plainly there are no in-house candidates for the position at this time. The office of GM will be filled by an outside entity for the first time since Frank Cashen himself. The Wilpons will not be dealing with a Frank Cashen or Steve Phillips disciple this time around. Jeff and Fred both seemed to re-emphasize and even champion themselves for running their organization in a very uncorporate-like manner. They proudly repeated they, the club, more resemebles a Family Operation, during today's press conference. And that's all OK for me. Besides, we know all that already.
Here's the dilemma. Is Jeff hiring this GM? Jeff said he and John Ricco will brainstorm together to formulate a plan to move forward with.
Jeff and John Ricco? See? Here's the problem regarding Jeff Wilpon thinking he's a Baseball man. I'd prefer Jeff did something prudent like bring in a consultant and assemble a think tank and move forward towards a GM from there. All Jeff has is on-the-job training on his resume. Do we not see an inherent problem here?
Is Jeff going to hire a General Manger or someone who just plays one on TV?
Does Jeff even have enough Baseball acumen to conduct interviews? After all, this will be a whole new process for the Wilpons. These are uncharted waters for the S.S. Wilpon.
If the Mets really want to get this right, they should be seeking professional consultaion, or at minimum creating a think tank to brainstorm ideas. Jeff nor Fred, just do not have the practical experience, in my humble opinion, to conduct the interviews that will land us our best option for the future success of the Mets.
They'v never had to scour the country side for an executive before.
Separation between Jeff Wilpon and the office of GM is something I'd really like to have ironed out. A Baseball qualified Team President is needed by this team because Jeff and a GM must be separated. If Jeff insists on keeping his thumb prints all over Baseball Operations, then it's into the ICEBERG we go.
...And that's the way I see things in Flushing.
Thanks a lot!